The 100 Season 6 Episode 8 Review: The Old Man and The Anomaly

Bellamy tries to save Clarke while Octavia and Diyoza journey to the Anomaly in a revealing episode of The 100

The 100 Season 6 Episode 8 Review

This The 100 review contains spoilers.

The 100 Season 6 Episode 8

Welcome to, “yet another episode of No Good Choices,” as we will now be referring to the show (not really, but I wish). After last week’s fun, fan service-y episode largely treaded nostalgic waters, a lot happened in this episode. The 100 picked up from the usual mid-season slump (even if the frenetic pace has been consistent), helped along by this season’s structure of continual reveals and an emphasis on tough choices that reveal one’s true nature.

Diyoza and Octavia’s development continues to be one of the strongest threads this season. At this point it doesn’t matter what Diyoza did, I welcome her back with open arms and Octavia isn’t too far behind her. Seeing these two care for each other so genuinely and start to reveal some of their inner truth via the Anomaly is entirely welcome, and I’m sure we haven’t seen the last of the endlessly resourceful Diyoza. How soon until Octavia rescues everyone in Sanctum?

read more: Diyoza is The 100 Season 6’s Best Character

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I can’t wait to hear what Octavia experienced inside the Anomaly, but for now she has been healed from her temporal flare-related injuries. There’s been plenty of speculation about a possible romantic connection with Xavier, who we now know is Gabriel (thanks, Diyoza!), and this episode made it even easier to see why. They both know what it’s like to make hard choices for your people, to be elevated to the point of a god, and to not know how to come back down from it. While some other folks like Abby show themselves to be darker and more corrupt in this episode, Octavia and Diyoza reveal how much they care about their family, one another, and those they fought for, even if they were misguided. 

It can be hard for the mysteries on The 100 to live up to all the hype – I guessed last year’s cannibalism at first mention and by the time it was “revealed” the entire fandom saw it as a foregone conclusion. It not only took away any excitement, the delay of that reveal made it harder for the rest of the story to progress, particularly Octavia’s rationale for her actions and inner turmoil before, during, and after. But like the infant sacrifice last week, exposing Xavier as Gabriel this week benefitted from both speed and there being so much else going on that neither was built up on a pedestal as the end-all, be-all ultimate twist of the season. It’s more fun for the audience to be surprised, even if the reason why is more a case of sleight of hand (given the focus on Clarke and the Primes) than complete shock.

Gabriel’s story since he left Sanctum was brief but moving. In just a few moments we learned he rescued a child left to die, raising him as his own, trained him to remove the brain drive, all the while living with the guilt of what he created in Sanctum. The matter of fact way he told Octavia and Diyoza that he killed his son in a blind rage contrasted with the shame-filled tenor of his admission that he took on Xavier’s life. There’s certainly more to the story – Xavier had to have a mother, and the rest of his followers are wandering around out there somewhere. Here’s hoping we get to know him better.

I’m hoping to see Emori unpack her feelings a bit more in a future episode. Luisa D’Oliveira did an excellent job conveying an array of complex emotions with relatively little screen time and dialogue, but there are so many competing priorities at play. Most of the time, she’s trying to hide her true intentions from Josephine, Bellamy for a bit, and possibly even Murphy. There’s something about her delivery when she tells Josephine that she’s on their side that feels like Emori wasn’t actually all in. Perhaps this was an attempt to mislead the audience, but it feels deliberate that she didn’t answer John directly, and only got on board when it became a survival situation.

While Emori did tell Bellamy that Clarke was alive, it was looking at Echo that made her do it. As much as the whole group who went back to space is family, the two outsiders have a special bond. I’m particularly hoping to see Emori react to Bel and the others keeping her out of the plan – even after everything they had been through, they decided she was still an untrustworthy outsider, her greatest trigger. It’s so like Emori to set that aside (as well as John’s horrible decision making) in the moment of crisis, but I’m hopeful that she’ll find her moment to hold Bellamy and Murphy accountable for making hurtful decisions on her behalf.

Speaking of Murphy, he of the terrible choices, it’s hard to understand how he didn’t come up with new math once he knew Clarke was alive. This might be a way for him to finally understand Clarke’s many difficult choices, but it unfortunately feels a bit out of step for him to keep getting farther away from his well-earned character evolution, at least without sufficient pressure. I’m still holding out hope he has some secret plan none of us know about – I was waiting for him to pull a fast one on Josie in the field – but it’s getting harder to justify his going along to get along. 

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Russell radicalized over the course of this episode, which is something I thought we had already seen when he erased Clarke. The fact that he keeps trying to reset back to an orderly, just, peaceful man ruling over an orderly, just, peaceful society makes me want to see him and Clarke locked in battle yet again. I love seeing Eliza Taylor as Josephine, but there’s something fascinating about watching foils who are such well-crafted mirror images of one another. Russell thinks he’s living some peaceful better life, but when it’s down to brass tacks, he’s erasing people and leaving babies to die in fields, so who’s the real monster here?

Priya showed once again how the Primes are so careless with the lives of mortals. She is grateful to Jordan (who better not be dead, so help me), and for a minute I even thought she might be Delilah when she bent down to help him. But her response to finding out from Ryker what Russell did to Clarke wasn’t to be aghast over murder, but rather to be appalled that Russell cut in line. Like the old Greek Gods, the Primes might occasionally take an interest in the nulls and even reward them, but they don’t truly value their lives.

Abby is headed in that same direction fast, if she isn’t there already. Raven did her best to try to stop her in some heartbreaking scene work, but at least now she might be getting help from Kane, in his new form of the body of Gavin, AKA Greyston Holt from Bitten. Does this mean no more Henry Ian Cusick? I certainly hope not, and Clarke being mentally alive and Russell’s proposal that she be restored obviously leaves the door open for others to be as well. I’m excited to see where Greyston Holt goes with this, since his brief appearance was a spot-on Kane, but I don’t want to lose Cusick either, who has been such a heart and soul of a show that otherwise jettisons the vast majority of “adults”. 

I can’t imagine many things more horrifying than waking up to see your own dead body but realizing that the love of your life is responsible has got to be one of them. It seems like everyone who has been kidding themselves about their own culpability or purity is finally going to have to face the reality of their actions.

Other notes

Check out the new title card/sequence!

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Shout out to the cuffs from season 1.

Octavia experiencing other people’s memories feels very flame-esque.

I love that Murphy told Josephine she had to apologize for insulting Emori about her hand. The fact that he consistently sees her body as positive rather than stigmatizing it is a low-key favorite character choice.

It’s a good sign that Bellamy knows about SheidHeda but wow, the crew seriously dropped the ball on looking out for Madi and Jordan.

Josie is right – brain surgery in a machine shop is very Clarke.

I’m glad to see Jackson and Miller are in the mix.

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Rating:

4 out of 5